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Security for the 99%

By Dan Auerbach | EFF | April 25, 2012

The House of Representatives kicked off their “cybersecurity week” yesterday with a hearing titled “America Is Under Cyber Attack: Why Urgent Action is Needed.” Needless to say, the rhetoric of fear was in full force. A lot of topics were raised by members of Congress and panelists, but perhaps the most troublesome theme came from panelist and Former Executive Assistant Director of the FBI Shawn Henry, who repeatedly urged that good cybersecurity means going on the offensive:

“the problem with existing […] tactics is that they are too focused on adversary tools (malware and exploits) and not on who the adversary is and how they operate. Ultimately, until we focus on the enemy and take the fight to them […], we will fail.”

This offensively-minded approach has major pitfalls, as it could lead to more government monitoring and control over our communications. While we think an increased focus on catching criminals using existing tools is a fine tactic that could be used by law enforcement, we fear the temptation for law enforcement to increase their surveillance capabilities in order to successfully go on the offensive in the context of computer crimes. This could mean things like breaking into people’s computers without warrants, or disrupting privacy-enhancing tools like Tor. Needless to say, we think it would be a very bad idea to link our safety to the ability for law enforcement to effectively monitor people, and that is a danger of focusing solely on an offensive strategy. Instead, we would like to offer an alternative, defensively-oriented point of view regarding security, an important view that we think was not adequately represented in yesterday’s panel.

Securing U.S. critical infrastructure networks, corporate networks, and the Internet at large depends upon securing our computers and networked devices. Fundamentally, it’s very simple: fewer software vulnerabilities means more security. Once a vulnerability is patched and an upgraded version of software is available and in use, that increases safety for all of us. Ensuring that the right mechanisms are in place to maximize this baseline security should be a major focus area of any organized effort to secure our critical and other Internet infrastructure. This means encouraging the disclosure of vulnerabilities when they are found so that they can be fixed, and no longer exploited. This is what we mean when we talk about security for everyone. This defensive strategy also takes a view of vulnerabilities that includes engineering with security in mind: if software doesn’t force good security on administrators and other humans who have a role to play to keep things secure, then that should be considered a security vulnerability in that software.

In order to understand why vulnerabilities are the foundation of insecurity and ought to be the focus of defensive efforts, let’s take a bit of time for those new to the computer security world to define bugs, vulnerabilities, exploits, and a particularly nasty class of exploits called “zero-day” exploits.

What are bugs, vulnerabilities, exploits and “zero-day” exploits?

A software bug is a general term referring to an unintentional problem with a piece of software that causes the software to work in an unexpected or unintended way. Bugs can refer to low-level issues (“we started counting from 0 over here, but from 1 over there, and now this array is messed up”), or to high-level issues (“we didn’t implement a feature allowing people to see their open orders on this website”).

Security vulnerabilities are a class of bugs in software; these are the bugs that allow an attacker to gain unauthorized access to do something that she couldn’t before. This could mean gaining access to a remote computer, or to a private network, or to other private information. Once again, these range from low-level vulnerabilities (“We weren’t expecting the user to give a name that was 4 gigabytes long; our oversight allowed the user to crash the program and execute her malicious code on the victim’s system”) to high-level (“Since we didn’t force a user to use a strong passphrase, his account could be compromised”).

Exploits are pieces of software that actually take advantage of the security vulnerability and give the user running the software unauthorized access. A security vulnerability could lead to an exploit, although not all vulnerabilities lead to exploits.

Zero-day exploits are exploits that take advantage of an undisclosed vulnerability. Suppose there is a publicly known vulnerability in the browser Internet Explorer 6. Then any exploit based on that vulnerability is NOT considered a zero-day, and you can (often, theoretically) protect yourself from such a vulnerability. In this case, for example, you could do so by downloading Internet Explorer 9. However, if there is a “zero-day” in Internet Explorer 9, there’s nothing you can knowingly do as a user to protect yourself. This makes this type of vulnerability especially scary, since it could be used not just against unwitting users who haven’t upgraded their software, but against anyone.

Ok, got it. To make us safer, we need to patch vulnerabilities and prevent exploits, especially zero-day exploits. Does CISPA encourage this?

Unfortunately, the “cybersecurity” bill CISPA and other legislation under debate does NOT focus on this baseline security. Instead of encouraging the patching of vulnerabilities as quickly as possible, or offering solutions to improve the general security of networked computers, the bill encourages broad surveillance of personal data by companies and the government. This type of information sharing is largely unrelated to the core issue of vulnerabilities that need to be patched at the software level. It’s certainly possible that by mining that data one could come across an exploit or an unknown vulnerability and share it with the vendor, but the bill is NOT about sharing vulnerabilities so that they can be patched – it’s about sharing raw data in a way that could legitimize a public-private surveillance partnership. And this data sharing between companies and the government in no way encourages security vulnerabilities themselves to be shared with the relevant software vendors and developers so that they can be patched. In other words, it just doesn’t attack the root of the problem.

Why is fixing vulnerabilities at odds with taking an offensive approach to security?

If we take an offensive approach as Mr. Henry suggests, a “security for the 1%” situation seems likely to arise, in which vulnerabilities are sometimes kept secret, and mitigations or fixes for these vulnerabilities are selectively doled out by the government or other private security firms only to critical infrastructure or paying clients (the “1%” deemed worthy of protection). The government might even deploy black box systems to companies and infrastructure designed to mitigate exploits based on secret vulnerabilities while giving as little information as possible about those underlying vulnerabilities, even to the companies they are protecting. Either way, the vendor would not be told about the vulnerability and so anyone who wasn’t a recipient of the “privileged” information would be hung out to dry.

What is a better approach to security?

Changing the incentives and culture to encourage the right sort of information sharing concerning vulnerabilities is a complex problem, and we do not purport to have a complete solution. There are many pieces to the puzzle: what should be done about vendors who don’t care about security? What about users who don’t upgrade software, or go out of their way to be vulnerable? What about security researchers who discover vulnerabilities, and choose to sell this knowledge to the highest bidder, instead of ensuring that the vendor knows about the vulnerability and it gets fixed?

There are some common sense tactics that the government can take to help solve these problems. For starters, the government can itself commit to disclosing any known vulnerabilities to vendors so that they are promptly patched. Next, incentives could be put in place to encourage research that has broad beneficial effects for everyone’s security. For example, suppose a researcher invents a new testing technique that reduces how many exploitable vulnerabilities there are in software in general. This is a win for everyone, and we think the government should strongly encourage such research.1

But beyond these common sense suggestions, the main point we want to raise in this post is not to offer a solution to these problems, but rather suggest that anyone interested in security at the national and international level should be thinking hard about them. Taking an offensive approach has the potential to put our civil liberties in danger, and could create a situation in which our safety ebbs and flows with how well the intelligence community can spy on us. This precarious and undesirable situation can be avoided if instead we take a defensive approach to stop the problem at its core, working to ensure that everyone is maximally protected. Mr. Henry suggests that “offense outpaces the defense.” That seems like an oversimplification, but even if one accepts it to be true, we should not take this to be an immutable property of the world. Instead, we should work to change it by increasing our defensive efforts. Unfortunately, the “cybersecurity” debate does not seem to be addressing this point of view, but we hope that somebody brings it up during “cybersecurity week”.

In the mean time, please speak out against the misguided cybersecurity legislation by taking action against CISPA.

April 26, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Comments Off on Security for the 99%

A citizens guide to understanding corporate media propaganda techniques

By George Orwell | | 01.09.2010

https://i0.wp.com/www.crestock.com/uploads/blog/2008/propagandaposters/us_propaganda-21.jpg

A few decades ago, there were thousands of independent media outlets in the US. Today in America, six multinational global media mega corporations run by six individuals control 96% of the content Americans see on TV and watch at the movies; read in books, magazines and newspapers, and hear on the radio.

  • Time Warner
  • VIACOM
  • CBS
  • Walt Disney
  • News Corp
  • General Electric

Click the link below to see the details of who owns what.

Media Ownership Chart: The Big Six

These 6 corporations own the major entertainment theme parks, movie studios, television and radio broadcast networks, cable and satellite channels, video news, magazines, book publishers, sports entertainment, integrated telecommunications and the communications satellites themselves, wireless phones, video games software, electronic media, internet, record labels and the music industry, and more.

Everything you believe, more or less, is delivered to you by a monolithic six individuals running these corporations. They play golf together. They plot and scheme together. They are members of the same clubs and organizations.  These cretins see the people, the citizens… as donkeys or Muppets who will believe anything. These demi-gods decide in advance what the donkeys should believe and what attitudes they should have about everything.

“Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have.”- Richard Salent, Former President CBS News.
12,700,000 Google References

“News is what someone wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising” – former NBC news President Rubin Frank 147,000 Google References

“For better or worse, my company is a reflection of my character, my thinking, my values” – Rupert Murdoch 297,000,000 Google References

“We are here to serve advertisers. That is our raison d’etre”  – CBS C.E.O. Michael Jordan  308,000 Google References

“We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective” – Michael Eisner, CEO, The Walt Disney Co 364,000 Google References

“We are going to impose our agenda on the coverage by dealing with issues and subjects that we choose to deal with.” – Richard M. Cohen, Senior Producer of CBS political news. 1,360 Google references

“We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets, and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.” – Katherine Meyer Graham, Washington Post publisher 41,500 Google References

“People shouldn’t expect the mass media to do investigative stories. That job belongs to the ‘fringe’ media.” – Ted Koppel – (American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline) 2770 Google References

“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any  significance  in the major  media.”–William Colby, former CIA Director, quoted by Dave Mcgowan, Derailing Democracy 167,000 Google References

Following this brief introduction is an attempt to enumerate powerful propaganda techniques being used on the American public and the world population by the corporate or so called “mainstream” (MSM) or mass media.

Having familiarized yourself with these techniques, you will be able to spot them as they are being deployed against you. The best way to counter propaganda is to understand the techniques and how they are used.

Framing [or re-framing] the debate

Debate a legitimate issue, and ostensibly have both sides represented, but instead on the continuum of opinion, have one from the middle and one from an extreme view and thus contain the debate to meet your ideological framing and goals. Alternatively, have a strong debater for one side, and a weak debater for the point of view you would like to suppress.

Framing (social sciences)

From Wikipedia:

A frame in social theory consists of a schema of interpretation — that is, a collection of anecdotes and stereotypes—that individuals rely on to understand and respond to events. In simpler terms, a person has, through their lifetime, built a series of mental emotional filters. They use these filters to make sense of the world. The choices they then make are influenced by their frame or emotional filters.
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Alternatively, the power of the media can re frame the entire context of a debate if desired.

Example:  a nuclear accident has occurred.

Instead of debating the effects of radiation release, float the idea using one of your “experts” or shills that radiation is good for you. Thus re frame the debate to whether or not radiation is good for you instead of how much it will take to cause cancer and disease.

Example:  re frame a debate about torture by instead of debating the legality or morality of torture, debate the effectiveness of torture techniques.

Programming the viewers attitudes

This has become a very widely used propaganda technique.  Cover a story, complete with your ideological spin, and then follow up with interviews of  “ordinary people” who support your point of view but frame it as the popular point of view or the only point of view. If you have to do 1000 interviews to pick 2, the viewer never knows. The viewer walks away with a powerful form of sub conscious attitude programming as they hear the propaganda point regurgitated by someone “just like them”. This same technique can be used on letters to the editor, emails to TV news hosts, or wherever else cherry picking of public opinion can be conducted without tipping off the viewer, reader or listener. This powerful technique which is basically fraud, if deployed for long enough with consistent messages, can change an entire culture over time.

Distraction

Instead of covering stories that matter, cover irrelevant, trivial stories about entertainers or celebrities and blow them up into grand productions so you don’t have to discuss anything that really matters, or when something happens that you don’t want to discuss but ordinarily would be forced by popular opinion to discuss, generate a distraction of your own sensational making which you discuss instead. By using the volume and coordination technique, the media monopolists can entirely obfuscate or bury important stories and issues of their choosing.

Group think

TV programs often revolve around groups of people delivering the content or opinion because people programmed not to be able to think for themselves instinctively believe groups promoting a certain opinion more than one individual. They all nod their heads in agreement with whatever propaganda is to be pushed on you, and the idea is that you also will nod your head like a brain dead zombie.

This can all be punctuated by “experts”. The group of “experts” will collectively come to the “correct” conclusions for you so you don’t have to think for yourself, even if you still can.

Guided Interpretation for the reader or viewer

In this technique, a journalist or anchorman will tell you what someone else said.

In some cases, quotes will be taken out of context, but in many cases an entirely concocted version of what was said will be passed off as the truth to an unsuspecting reader, listener or viewer.

What was actually said will not be referenced, because if the viewer or reader has access to what the actual content was, it exposes the fraud. That being the case, this technique is dangerous, because if the reader or viewer does have access to the source, the propaganda becomes apparent leaving distrust.

Fluff and ice cream cones

Everyone loves an ice cream cone. Run feel good stories about puppies and teddy bears. Regardless of what really happens or the actual state of affairs, convey the message that all is good, America is great, and things are the same as they always have been. If cities decay, just don’t shoot wide shots of those cities any more.  Always project a disneylandish, cartoonish, surreal version of reality.

Leverage what people like and what people are compassionate towards to build  trust and leave the viewer feeling happy and complacent. Most importantly, establish trust and goodwill in your enterprise. Do everything necessary to give it the appearance of legitimacy no matter how fraudulent it is.  Always.

Artificial reality

By framing the entire programming of the network, and by subtle editorializing over news stories, you can create an artificial reality, posing as the truth.

As a media mogul, you drive the programming and choose what to cover and how to cover it through your upper management, programming and editor selections. As a viewer, is is critically important to remember that every word read comes from a teleprompter, and the people who write, edit and select the copy are the ones actually delivering the content. The people who actually read the news to you are in that position because they are experts at reading propaganda and sounding convincing while doing it.

“For better or worse, my company is a reflection of my character, my thinking, my values” – Rupert Murdoch

Good looking, likable, trusted newscaster:

“here is a story about someone who did the right thing”.

According to whom? The programming director?

Ex:  xyz is a desired reality or propaganda point….

Good looking, likable, trusted newscaster says on the most widely watched news channel in America:

“I believe xyz and I think the majority of Americans are right there with me”.

Not.  This is pure propaganda in it’s most overt form.

“Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves” – George Orwell

Direct programming

In this method, a story is covered with the specific intent of a viewer walking away holding a desired point of view. The actual coverage of the story as compared to the truth could range from slightly true to entirely untrue. The story is merely a tool to achieve an end result.

Special interest ads posing as news stories

In this technique, a special interest advertisement will be crafted as if it is a news story and presented as such. Only the astute viewer will be able to spot the fraud.

Video news release

From Wikipedia:

A video news release (VNR) is a video segment created by a PR firm, advertising agency, marketing firm, corporation, or government agency and provided to television news stations for the purpose of informing, shaping public opinion, or to promote and publicize individuals, commercial products and services, or other interests. In this way, VNRs are video versions of press releases.
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The big lie technique

Tell a lie so large that no one will question the authenticity because of the size of the lie. This is a time tested, proven propaganda technique and used by the most infamous of  media controllers and propagandists.

Big Lie

From Wikipedia:

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Omission

This is a simple, straightforward and effective technique. For news that doesn’t fit your agenda, or news that might cause your advertisers or special interest supporters to withhold support, for news that might not fit with the overall story line and talking points… just don’t cover the story. Alternatively, if a high profile person carries an opinion or message you would like to suppress, don’t ever invite that person as a guest. Since you and your peers didn’t cover it, it didn’t happen.

This very powerful tool combined with the volume and coordination technique gives a media mogul the ability to decide for everyone else what is and what is not important. Omission is often combined with the distraction technique.

Volume and coordination

This is the opposite of omission. The goal of this technique is to create broad awareness of a propaganda point through a media deluge. This is often punctuated by many or all of the big six joining in unison to promote or hype the same propaganda point, idea or story. In this way, even a small or trivial item can be boosted to the forefront of collective consciousness. If desired, through TV, Magazines, movies and sitcoms, any point can be focused in the forefront of the mind of the population. This technique can be used effectively for short term or more importantly for long term results. As with many techniques in this guide, this technique becomes more effective the more consolidated the media becomes.

Humanization and de-humanization or personalization and de-personalization

If you show dead bodies it generates a reaction. If you humanize a story, you generate sympathy for the victim. Alternatively if you avoid humanization or dehumanize atrocities or awful acts, you can avoid public sympathy being created. This technique is often used to report on war and decide on behalf of the viewer or reader who are the “good guys” and who are the “bad guys”. It doesn’t have to be used in wartime however. Propaganda pieces can be run to humanize bad guys or dehumanize good guys. This technique can and often does go so far as to frame a villain(s) as a victim(s) or vice versa. This is a very powerful technique which has been used with great effectiveness. Friends of the media are good. Enemies are bad.This technique alone can accomplish that goal when used by a skilled group of propagandists.

Friendly fire

Repeatedly have as guests, people who strongly support your causes, or alternatively have weak debaters appear to represent causes you don’t support. A weak debater combined with a hostile interview can decimate a legitimate topic of debate or point of view.

Historical revision

Omit unflattering feedback and generate your own positive feedback. Dead people and historical events are a prime target for historical revision in news, movies, mini series, or any other venue where a fictionalized account of the past or a past personality can be configured as truth by the network, studio or publication.

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell

Winning the viewer

Attempt to foster goodwill and viewer loyalty by covering fluff stories using likable or attractive people and personalities in a way that ordinary viewers or readers can identify with. In this way, people are more likely to swallow the dope. This extends to using disaster and tragedy for shameless self promotion, ratings boosts, and leveraging of the media empire. Ideally, the consumers of your propaganda will love you as you program them.

“The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering—a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons—a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting—three hundred million people all with the same face.” – George Orwell

Emphasis and repetition

Cover stories which match your agenda over and over and over… and over. People will remember repetition and will come to believe anything if it is repeated often enough.

Shills

Invite often, people with so called “credentials”, who pose as “experts”, “professors” or other lofty titles who support the network point of view as if it is the truth. Often, these so called experts will have a financial or career interest, or some other political or ideological affiliation regarding their point of view that is not disclosed. The Wikipedia entry below concentrates on “selling goods or services”. It is imperative to note that the “goods and services” could include a point of  view, or an ideology, or a political, social or religious position.

Shill

From Wikipedia:

A shill is person who is paid to help another person or organization to sell goods or services.
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Gatekeepers

Employ “trusted” personalities who pretend to be on the side of exposing media or government corruption and who pretend to represent the common citizen but who is in fact, dealing sophisticated propaganda.

Gatekeeper

From Wikipedia:

A gatekeeper is defined as someone who controls access to something. It also refers to individuals who decide whether a given message will be distributed by a mass medium.
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Repeating a lie

George Orwell along with many infamous propagandists have said that if you repeat a lie frequently enough, people will take it to be true.

Telling the truth

If the media selectively tells the truth on points where an ideological agenda or sponsorship is not at risk, that opportunity can be used to tell the truth and gain viewer confidence. It is critically important to occasionally tell the truth in order to maintain credibility or legitimacy.

Fogging an issue

Sometimes special interest groups or sponsors will have an interest in making sure that as few people pay attention to an issue as possible, or alternatively that an issue is of little importance. A good propagandist can write a long, nonsensical article or offer a confusing video segment for the purpose of confusing the viewer or reader and obscuring any real issues through confusion or lack of interest. This technique can be used when the story is too big for the distraction or omission techniques.

Vilification and character assassination

This is an important tool that is often used to keep politicians in line by fear and intimidation of what they know has already happened to people with the “wrong” opinion. People or personalities whose opinion or positions are to be suppressed are subtly (or not so subtly) vilified and sabotaged, usually by over blowing a trivial issue relating to something people are sympathetic to. Vilification is most effective when used subtly and over a long period of time, so the audience or readership becomes slowly programmed as to who is “good” and who is “bad”.  A broad array of techniques can be used ranging from hiring investigators to “dig up dirt”, then using the volume and coordination technique. The “He Said, She Said” technique is also employed for character assassination.  Using this method, the author or newscaster can cast the backlash to someone else and say something they know isn’t true, or isn’t fair, but they want to say it anyway. As a media mogul, your enemies become the people’s enemies and your friends become the people’s friends.  You can eject a politician or shame a public personality. This is an extremely effective and important arena. See also “character assassination via the question mark” under “cooking the headlines”.

Keep only team players

If a newscaster, commentator or journalist or editor has the wrong opinion, fire them and replace them with someone who has the correct opinion. The looming threat of un-personing acts as a powerful compliance tool for field reporters and editors. During the past several years in America, there have been a lot of high profile corporate reporters, anchormen and anchorwomen who have been un-personed within 24 hours of uttering the “wrong” opinion. Media mogul pimps hastily un-person rogue reporters because it has a chilling effect on the remainder of their stable of whores.

Embedded editorial views in news stories

In Journalism, the editorial page is where opinion is supposed to be expressed, but editorial views can be subtly introduced into “news” to program the viewer or reader.

As a media consumer, look for opinions which are stated as if they are fact. Facts can be substantiated, opinions cannot.

Also, be on the lookout for subtle inaccuracies,  or  a dismissive tone. Alternatively, editorial views can be injected into news by subtly misstating a topic, often a serious one, and pretending any objecting or concerned view of the treatment of the topic is silly, unrealistic, or just not necessary. This can become related to deciding who is sane on behalf of the viewer or reader.  The more subtly these opinions and distortions can be substituted for facts, the more powerful the propaganda tool of editorialized news. This technique can be punctuated or made more potent by keeping in line with your friends in Government who echo the same views as truth.

The largest and supposedly most respected media outlets in America today routinely sell editorial views as news. Corporate media journalism in America has morphed from informing the public, into something entirely sinister. In spite of this, most Americans remain in the dark as to the fraud and advanced PR techniques being hoisted upon them.

Lies as truth

Run  a story or headline that you know isn’t true to support your point of view. In a subtler form, mistranslate or misquote to suit. Alternatively, publish or sponsor polls intended to give a desired result.

Deciding who is sane on behalf of the viewer or reader

Portray points of view you would like to suppress as extreme, crazy, dangerous or not legitimate. If necessary, call in one or more of your “experts” for emphasis.

This effect can be multiplied by ensuring that members of the audience, even though they may have all collectively come to the same opinion,  if it is not the desired opinion, you ensure that each viewer believes they are crazy and alone in holding that point of view.  This is a potent technique used to form “mainstream” opinion.

Furthermore, as one of the six media owners, you can leverage the “correct mainstream opinion” by “behavior placement” in your sitcoms, magazine articles, and on the radio. In behavior placement, one out of your stable of celebrity actors holds certain behaviors, ideas or attitudes that are either condoned or maligned by the rest of the cast. This could be an attitude, an opinion they hold regarding anything, a product they use,  ideas about religion or anything else.

Americans have become enamored with celebrities from decades of Hollywood propaganda. We have been conditioned to want to be like them. Celebrity behavior placement is a very, very powerful tool in the media owners arsenal.

Advertising as news

Run goodwill stories about advertisers, or for that matter about your parent company, as if you are covering news or human interest stories. Effectively as a media mogul you can have free stealth advertising throughout your enterprise. If you own a theme park, have your news division do a “story’ about how great the theme park is. Punctuate that by cherry picking interviews and broadcasting them in the segment so viewers can hear it from others who are “just like themselves”.

The hostile or friendly interview

Interview people whose views you support in a friendly manner. Interview people whose views you would like to suppress in a hostile manner. This technique is most effective when kept low key. A variation of this technique is to invite a guest for an “interview”, then have an aggressive personality talk over them the whole time and repeat as truth things they never said or things they said out of context.

A more advanced variation of this propaganda technique is to invite someone and label them as an “expert” or “professor” or any favorable handle for a “friendly” interview who does not well represent a cause or issue. The important distinction here is that the viewer sees a friendly interview and yet walks away unimpressed by the point of view.

Humor as a propaganda tool

Feature comedians who support your point of view, ideological or religious agenda.  As a media mogul, it’s easy to get the Muppets to laugh as you deride and attack your enemies with so called humor from your stable of “comedians”.  Use this “humor” for character assassination, vilification or to punctuate your propaganda regarding who is sane and who isn’t. If you tightly control your stable of prime time comedians,  people will only laugh at what you want them to laugh at. If a comedian in your A list isn’t with the program, then they disappear forever into obscurity.

Unflattering (or flattering) handles

Corral an entire group of people into a pigeon hole, by crafting handles that carry positive or negative connotations.

Examples:

He is a “conspiracy theorist” (negative connotation) used to tar anyone who contradicts or attempts to expose the propaganda of the party line.

He is a “goldbug” (negative connotation) used to subliminally encourage the idea that someone favorable to owning gold is a kook or single minded extremist.

A “truther” – negative connotation label applied to any person who questions the government version of 911.

A “right wing (left wing) extremist” – to portray a given point of view as extreme, whether it is or not.

Use the power of words to emphasize or de-emphasize acts or information

The crowd was “peppered” with hellfire missiles.

Trusted anchorman – “They criticize us for using enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding” *. MSNBC 2/22/2010

*Please note that waterboarding is currently defined in international law not as an “enhanced interrogation technique” but as torture. The United States put to death Japanese commanders accused of waterboarding. The public is not OK with torture, so you just re-define it as an “enhanced interrogation technique”, and it’s fine.

Collateral damage – when innocent people are killed in wartime, a suitable, soft term is needed. If an army accidentally inflicts collateral damage, even if that means killing scores, hundreds or thousands of innocent people, a simple two word term called “collateral damage” makes it OK.

Divide and conquer

Create simple minded divisions between groups of people to keep them distracted and arguing among themselves over mostly trivial issues. Use black and white, good and evil, and particularly the faux left and right divide. Leave no room in the middle for discussion as if all opinions and issues are binary. When events happen, don’t ever discuss actual causes. As a media owner, you have your employees discuss the event, and make up the cause in your programming department.

Using anonymous sources

Generate “news” using anonymous sources. This technique could range from mis-quoting, to outright fabrication and lying such as an anonymous source that is entirely fictional and created to generate a certain reaction or artificial reality. Anonymous sources are used heavily in the US media to lay the propaganda groundwork and to manufacture the popular consent for wars of conquest and aggression.

Using guided imagery

This is an advanced technique which is now pervasive in all PR, advertising and corporate programming as well as central banking.  The idea is a takeoff on the idea popularized by George Soros which is that “markets influence events they anticipate.” By the same token, there is an assumption that if the people are told something as if it is true, then it will in fact become true. You could call this molding public opinion. An example of this would be saying as if it is fact, “70 percent of the country is in favor of xyz”. The idea is that this repeated, will have the effect of causing the public opinion to actually be that. Another would be “we have green shoots” or “the country is out of the recession”, with the idea being that if you state this as fact, then people will have more confidence and spend and it will become true.

Using music, lighting and effects

Music and lighting effects can be powerful promoters of feelings and emotion. Both are heavily employed, and deployed against the public. For example, when promoting the party line, be sure to have the music set to create all the right feelings and emotions. Wave the flag. Set your color scheme to red, white and blue. Create emphasis by dramatic lighting or by talking loud and fast or soft and somber.

The privilege of being a media mogul means having your personal points of view represented and delivered by people who are “just like” the audience to be programmed.

Fabricated evidence

This technique is practiced by promoting as self sourced or repeating “evidence” that could range from non existent to fabricated. This could include doctored photographs to include, exclude or exaggerate information, audio recordings and video productions, as well as dossiers or written documents. Any or all of which are promoted as “the truth” though they may in fact have only some basis in truth or be entirely fabricated. It could in fact have been an entirely paid for promotion.

The preemptive strike

A journalist, anchor or interviewer  attacks at the very outset of the article or segment with the “acceptable” view of the topic, prior to the topic. This is a brute force technique and is easy to spot. It usually involves some sort of angry tirade.

Leveraging the media empire

The media empire can be used by the parent company for advertising, propaganda and goodwill. This is a very broad arena where subtle or overt techniques can be used.

As a multinational media mega corporation, you can use your music empire to promote your viewpoint or more importantly, eliminate alternative points of view. If the musicians on your record label step out of line, quietly retire them. Sign acts that for whatever reason, have a message which you personally like.

You can advertise your theme park in the name of news. You can interview people who wrote books you published, or interview people who produced movies for a subsidiary. You can promote your ideals with a consistent message throughout your subsidiaries and enterprises. You can promote or demote points of view you agree or disagree with. You can use behavior placement in the sitcoms, movies and other programming arenas to produce a consistent message of your choosing.  As media empires become ever fewer, ever larger, and ever more powerful, this tactic becomes more and more potent.

Serialization of a related chain of events and the memory hole

This technique works to reconcile incompatible truths by deconstructing all events to a serial chain, and discarding all past information unless not doing so proves particularly useful. This is what George Orwell referred to as the “memory hole”.

If you remember the past version of the truth, then often the current version of the truth is not compatible with that version of the truth; therefore there should be no memory of the past unless it is a reverse engineered version. Otherwise, incongruence is generated.  At least the news isn’t covering it. That’s the point.

You are supposed to forget the past and concentrate on what you are being told today. It’s all a serial chain of sound bites and propaganda intended and engineered to give desired current results. There are no causes and effects, only an unrelated serial chain of events.

Memory hole

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Address

Cooking the headlines

Headline tickers offer endless opportunities for revisionist or deceptive news and fast, efficient propaganda programming. There are more people reading the headline tickers than are following the actual stories. For example, hundreds of people in an airport may be just following the headline ticker… People receiving a news stream on the internet may be only looking at headlines. Therefore, if you can cook the headlines you effectively get “propaganda leverage”. Furthermore, people remember the headlines without necessarily following the actual story;

technique #1. – deceptive headlines designed to convey a certain message, but based on an actual event

technique #2 – false headlines ie “WMD found in Iraq”. Over 70 percent of the US population came to believe that weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, and the reason is that headlines were running which repeatedly made that claim, although it was entirely untrue.

technique #3 – embedding propaganda as reasons in headlines, ie “stocks soared today because… (made up propaganda reason follows)”

technique #4 – overplay some headlines and underplay other headlines to decide on behalf of the viewer or reader what is important

Repetition and trust

There are 300 million Americans in the United States and yet spanning the entire corporate media, the people invited on as regulars by the big six could fill a gymnasium. The point is that if “trusted” sources are developed and cultivated by the corporate media, people will come to believe what they say, regardless of what they say or how wrong they have been in the past.

Propagandists are held out by the corporate media to the public as “experts” who do not represent the centrist views of the majority of Americans, have been wrong about nearly everything they have ever said, and these people are never held to account. At the same time, people who have been correct or people who have views that represent mainstream America remain off the people’s radar, never or rarely invited as guests except maybe for a hostile interview.

In sum total this technique can be used to generate a heavy handed dose of artificial reality.

Subliminal messages

Anything you say while wearing an American Flag lapel pin is patriotic.

The topic of subliminal messages could probably justify a post in itself. In short, at the subliminal level, advertisers and the media like to link things together. In general, they want to link positive things, things you want to be, things you see yourself as, things you support, things you desire or desire to be, to themselves, to the dope they are pushing, or to their advertisers. Music, lighting or sounds can be employed to create subliminal hypnotic effects. Behavior placement can be used for subliminal effects. If they are doing their job well, you will never even be aware it’s happening.

Re-framing the question

By re-framing the question or subtly altering the question, or even by the possible answers offered to the question, a media enterprise can move the discussion to a different realm or even change the answer. This technique is often used for poll results to be used as propaganda. It can also be used to alter the subject of a debate.

Engineered reality

Using this brute force technique, camera angles, staged events and engineered real time and post production effects can be added to a video feed to dramatically alter the viewers perception. With the correct camera angle, a small crowd can be made to seem large or vice versa.

If your media company would like to minimize or maximize a protest to suit your ideological agenda, it can be covered using a camera angle minimizing or maximizing the crowd, along with a suitable dialogue which confirms the selected camera angle and desired viewer take away. This can be followed up using other techniques such as cherry picked interviews with participants to deliver whatever message is desired.

Using a laugh track you can program the viewers in terms of what is perceived to be funny. Other audio effects can also be added. Real time audio and video production techniques can augment or add elements to a video feed that weren’t present in the un-doctored feed.

Investigative journalism (or lack thereof) as a weapon or a tool

Using the guise of investigative journalism, corporate media can either bag a victim or let a friend off the hook. This can be used on politicians, people in the public spotlight, or anyone whose views are to be suppressed or promoted.

Of all the controversy surrounding 9/11, one of the most mysterious aspects is that there were very unusual large option bets placed prior to the incident which paid hundreds of millions, if not billions to the account holders who placed those bets. By law, every account holder who places a trade on a US exchange is known and can be easily traced by any federal law enforcement or regulatory body. To date, almost ten years after the event, these profiteers were never identified and there was never any effort by the corporate media using investigative journalism to force the disclosure to the American people, when there easily could have been. This is a glaring example of a lack of investigative journalism being used as a tool and corporate media complicity in nefarious, treasonous deeds.

“People shouldn’t expect the mass media to do investigative stories. That job belongs to the ‘fringe’ media.” – Ted Koppel – (American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline) 2770 Google References

Leading the viewer or reader

This is a powerful, simple technique which is used pervasively to introduce editorial content into news. This works by leading the viewer or reader in a subtle way to a pre-defined conclusion, or to make the subject look awkward for disagreeing with propaganda pre-established by the host.

From the newscaster to the interviewee:

Don’t you think that (thing to be agreed with follows).

Wouldn’t you agree with (high profile “expert” who has never been correct about anything and returns every week to spew propaganda) that (xyz propaganda point).

I know I (propaganda point), what about you?

Most Americans believe (propaganda point) what is your opinion?

Fewer and fewer people (propaganda point).

Everyone wants (propaganda point).

The best case is (propaganda point).

Planting seeds of doubt

Character assassination via the question mark. This is a very powerful technique which can be used for character assassination while avoiding lawsuits. The way it is done is to pose outrageous and libelous character assassination as a question, and thus plant seeds of doubt in the mind of the viewer or reader. This is best illustrated by example:

Ron Paul: Terrorist?

Token Equal Time

The goal of this technique is to create an appearance of fairness. It consists of an article or video segment written or broadcast with entirely one point of view, then at the end a meager statement from the opposing view is mentioned, then immediately refuted. In this way the reader absorbs the intended point of view while at the same time believing the topic has had fair treatment.

The “May Have” Technique

The words “may have” provide endless opportunities for programming a zombie audience.  This is a form of character assassination and similar to character assassination via the question mark.

“Iran may have committed a cyber-attack on the BBC”

“AP: Iran may be cleaning up nuclear traces at military site”

“BBC News – Iran ‘may boost nuclear programme’, diplomat warns”

The double-talk “may have’s” convey the LIES (but with plausible deniability):As a viewer or listener, you should be acutely aware of the use of the words “may have”  by the media propagandists.

Sex sells news

Pasty faced bimbos with silicone cleavage, bubbly personalities and enough botox to immobilize cattle… as fake as the half baked teleprompter propaganda they’re serving up to a nation of  300 million Muppets.

It doesn’t really matter what they say, and no one really cares… because the men aren’t listening.  This is why programs which cater to a male audience like financial news channels are stacked with stacked bimbos who couldn’t tell a debenture from a derivative.  Why else would anyone listen to a casino operator pimping their casino day in and day out?  Men will go so far as to watch with the sound muted. It’s a cheap trick to gain viewers who otherwise would be disinterested in the endless, incessant propaganda pitch.

Enough said.

In total, when these potent techniques are used synergistically, the entire fabric of a society can be guided, shaped and molded. Your only defenses are awareness and even better, turning it off.

EarthBlog News©

April 26, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 31 Comments

MSNBC: Evidence of Multiple Shooters, Night Raid in Sgt. Bales Case

By Ralph Lopez – War is a Crime – April 23, 2012

The first story was shaky from the start, that Sgt. Robert Bales “sneaked” off a combat outpost into hostile, landmined territory in the middle of the night, walked north a little over a half mile to a village, engaged in bloody murder, then walked back that half mile, past the base, and another mile south, killed more people, then turned himself in at the gate, all within an hour.  Sharp-eyed bloggers did the math and recalled from other reports that Bales has part of a foot missing from a wound in Iraq, making the feat all the more remarkable.

Among the dead were a number of children, including a two-year-old.

Two weeks later the Pentagon’s story changed, and Bales had managed to sneak off the base twice over a longer timeline:

“Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is suspected in the shooting deaths this month of 17 Afghans, sneaked off his remote outpost twice during his alleged 90-minute rampage in two Afghan villages, two senior U.S. officials told CNN on Monday.

The officials said that, after the March 11 shootings in one village in Kandahar province, Bales sneaked back onto his base. They said Bales was seen at that point by fellow troops.

One official said investigators believe Bales told other soldiers he had just killed military-aged Afghan men. The officials said they did not know whether those troops told anyone else.

Then Bales sneaked out again and headed to the second village; he was apprehended by a search party as he attempted to re-enter the combat outpost the second time, the officials said.

Before this account, an Afghan guard was believed to have been the sole person who saw Bales that night. The guard alerted U.S. troops on base.”

The UK Guardian noted around the same time:

“Members of the Afghan delegation investigating the killings said one Afghan guard working from midnight to 2am saw a US soldier return to the base around 1.30am. Another Afghan soldier who replaced the first and worked until 4am said he saw a US soldier leaving the base at 2.30am. It’s unknown whether the Afghan guards saw the same US soldier. If the gunman acted alone, information from the Afghan guards would suggest that he returned to base in between the shooting sprees.”

Never mind that this leaves open the question of whether security at a “hot” outpost is routinely left, in this era of attacks coming from inside the wire, to purely indigenous guard, while US troops sleep.  Ho Chi Minh would have dreamed of this situation.  CNN reported that a US official told them that Bales had returned to the base “unnoticed.”

“One U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation said an Afghan guard allegedly spotted Bales leaving his outpost around 1 a.m. It is not clear why Bales’ superiors weren’t alerted, and the official said Bales was not noticed when he allegedly returned to the compound an hour later.”

The NY Times report quoting one Afghan General Hameed seemed aimed at putting a bit of spin on how Bales could have sashayed on and off the base so easily, saying:

“In recent interviews, American and Afghan officials said that the outpost in the rural Panjwai district was guarded by Afghan soldiers that night, as it probably was on most nights, because there were relatively few American soldiers based there, possibly only a platoon. Platoons typically have between 25 and 40 soldiers. –“Details Offered on How Suspect Could Have Left Afghan Base”

So let me get this straight.  A base in one of the most hostile parts of a war zone is under indigenous guard at night because, out of 25 – 40 tough US soldiers, they all need to be get their beauty sleep?  This isn’t the 21st Century Army.  This is “F Troop.”  If the Pentagon really wants to fool people, they should learn when to shut up.

Jefferson Morley of Salon.com was the first reliable American outlet to report President Karzai’s, and the members of an Afghan Parliament investigative team’s, insistence that there was more than one shooter:

“A group of Afghan parliamentary investigators has concluded that Bales was part of a group of 15-20 soldiers. As Outlook Afghanistan reported Monday, “The team spent two days in the province, interviewing the bereaved families, tribal elders, survivors and collecting evidences at the site in Panjwai district.” One of the parliamentarians told Pajhwok Afghan News that investigators believed 15 to 20 American soldiers carried out the killings.”

The Gulf Times reported the Afghan investigative team’s findings immediately after the shootings, as did other outlets of the regional press:

“After our investigations, we came to know that the killings were not carried out by one single soldier. More than a dozen soldiers went, killed the villagers and then burnt the bodies,” lawmaker Naheem Lalai Hameedzai claimed…..

“All the villagers that we talked to said there were 15 to 20 men (who) had conducted a night raid operation in several areas in the village,” said Hameedzai.”

Disputing this is the governor of the province and the local police chief.  The provincial governor who upholds the one gunman scenario says:

“It is time for Afghanistan to calm down and not let the insurgents take advantage of this case. They want foreign troops to leave such areas like this so they can hold those areas. We should be aware of their intentions and try to help the government, not the insurgents.”

The governor does not say where in “try to help the government” the truth figures in.

Interestingly, the initial Reuters report on the scene immediately after the killings made numerous references to multiple shooters, in addition to reporting that one staff sergeant was in custody, and that US officials were  insisting on one shooter

“Neighbors and relatives of the dead said they had seen a group of U.S. soldiers arrive at their village in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district at about 2 a.m., enter homes and open fire.

An Afghan man who said his children were killed in the shooting spree accused soldiers of later burning the bodies.

“They (Americans) poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them,” Samad told Reuters at the scene.

Neighbors said they had awoken to crackling gunfire from American soldiers, who they described as laughing and drunk.

“They were all drunk and shooting all over the place,” said neighbor Agha Lala, who visited one of the homes where killings took place.””

Now the first western reporter to gain access to child witnesses in the shooting, which she says the military tried to block, gives accounts of many men with “flashlights” on the ends of their rifles and on their helmets.  As carried by MSNBC:

“”the children told Hakim [Yalda Hakim, a journalist for SBS Dateline in Australia] that other Americans were present during the rampage, holding flashlights in the yard.

Noorbinak, 8, told Hakim that the shooter first shot her father’s dog. Then, Noorbinak said in the video, he shot her father in the foot and dragged her mother by the hair. When her father started screaming, he shot her father, the child says. Then he turned the gun on Noorbinak and shot her in the leg.

“One man entered the room and the others were standing in the yard, holding lights,” Noorbinak said in the video.

A brother of one victim told Hakim that his brother’s children mentioned more than one soldier wearing a headlamp. They also had lights at the end of their guns, he said.

“They don’t know whether there were 15 or 20, however many there were,” he said in the video.

Army officials have repeatedly denied that others were involved in the massacre, emphasizing that Bales acted alone.”

The interesting thing here is that Afghan children don’t have videogames.  They don’t have TV.  In most parts of the country they don’t even have electricity.  So night-raid equipment like weapons lights are not likely to arise from their imaginations.

From SureFire catalog “Weapon Lights”, Standard night-raid equipment for US forces

VIDEO: The SureFire Story

Hakim told MSNBC that the reason American investigators gave for trying to prevent her from interviewing the children was that her questions could “traumatize them.”

Stop the presses.  In this war of nightly drone attacks on compounds known to have children present, in which hundreds if not thousands of children have been killed, and killed in night raids on such compounds, the interviews might “traumatize” them.  I am rarely at a loss for words.  This is one of those times.

One story floated about a week after the killings puts down the sighting of more than one soldier to possible confusion with the search party looking for Bales.

UK Guardian:

“It is unclear whether the soldiers the villagers saw were part of a search party that left the base to look for Bales, who was reported missing.”

But numerous reports make clear that the search party never left the area of the base.

CNN:

“About 3:30 a.m., the official said, a surveillance camera spotted Bales returning to the base, and the search team found him just outside the compound.”

The NY Times, quoting Afghan Gen. Abdul Hameed, the corps commander for the Afghan National Army in Kandahar, reported:

“When American commanders became aware that a soldier was missing, they first checked sleeping quarters, toilets and the kitchen area before organizing a patrol to look outside the compound, General Hameed said. But before the patrol left, a high-powered infrared camera on a small blimp spotted Sergeant Bales nearby.”

Salon.com’s Morley reports an “unnamed senior U.S. official’ telling the New York Times: “When it all comes out, it will be a combination of stress, alcohol and domestic issues,” leaving aside the question of how the senior official already knows how it will all “come out.”

Morley writes:

“The passing admission that two other soldiers face disciplinary action for drinking with Bales on the night of the massacre might cast doubt on the notion that no one else knew what Bales was going to do. Army spokeswoman Lt. Col Amy Hannah said in telephone interview that she could not confirm the Times’ account. “I am not aware of any releases of information” about other soldiers facing disciplinary action, Hannah said. If the U.S. official’s remarks to the Times were accurate, then the Army is refraining from disclosing how many soldiers are under investigation.

Then there is conflicting eyewitness testimony. In this CNN video, one man describes the actions of a group in carrying out the killings. “They took him my uncle out of the room and shot him,” he says. “They came to this room and martyred all the children.” But one boy seen on the tape says there was only a single gunman. Still other witnesses pointed out a place outside the home, where they said they found footprints of more than one U.S. soldier.

Journalists seeking to clarify the question have been thwarted. In Afghanistan, Pajhaowk Afghan News reports that Lewis Boone, the public affairs director for coalition forces, declined to answer questions about the massacre, saying that a joint Afghan-ISAF team was investigating the killings. As the Seattle Times noted yesterday, the Army has been struggling “to regulate information on the Afghanistan suspect.”

The laugh for the day in Morley’s report comes when Ryan Evans, who worked with ISAF in Afghanistan and is now a research fellow at the Center for National Policy in Washington, said he thought “a cover up is very unlikely.”  Now why would anyone think that, after Lt. Col. Daniel Davis just told us in a major report on Afghanistan that:

“We seem significantly challenged to tell the truth in almost any situation.”

And in a fascinating McClatchy report, Karzai’s lead investigator seems to differ with the president’s conclusion of more than one shooter, but then apparently contradicts himself.

KABUL, Afghanistan — The chief Afghan investigator in last month’s slayings of 17 civilians says there’s strong evidence that only one killer was involved, a view that puts him at odds with Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai.
….
Afghan army chief Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi, whom Karzai sent to Kandahar to investigate the massacre, told McClatchy that two survivors he interviewed offered credible accounts that the killings were the act of a lone person.

“They told me the same thing,” Karimi said. “They both said there was (only) one individual who came to their house.”
….
At a meeting at the presidential palace with relatives of the victims days after the massacre, Karzai openly questioned the U.S. account of a lone gunman. The president pointed to one relative and said: “In his family, in four rooms people were killed — children and women were killed — and then they were all brought together in one room and then set on fire. That, one man cannot do.”

Karimi said he returned to Kabul to deliver his interim report but the villagers had spoken to Karzai before he did.

“And everybody said (to the president), ‘Sir, it was not one person. … How can one guy shoot people in four rooms, kill them, then lift them, bring them to one room and set them on fire?'”

Underscoring how the incident has become a political football, Karimi himself appeared to parrot Karzai’s line in an interview with an Australian television program broadcast last week, in which he said, “I’m guessing — assumption — that (the killer was) helped by somebody. One person or two persons.”

There are a couple of possibilities here.  Karimi could be honestly saying, interpreted by McClatchy as a contradiction, that two survivors said “there was (only) one individual who came to their house.”  This would not rule out other men going to other houses or taking positions outside, and McClatchy could be wrong in its interpretation.  Or, as McClatchy suggests, Harimi could be trying to play both sides of the fence.  However, the rest of Harimi’s witness to the Australian reporter is clear, and MSNBC views it differently than McClatchy:

“Gen. Karimi, assigned by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to investigate the murders, told Hakim that he, too, wonders whether Bales acted alone and how he could left the base without notice.

“Village elders said several soldiers took part and that there is boot prints in the area,” Karimi told Hakim. He said villagers told him that they saw three or four individuals kneeling and that helicopters were overhead during the rampage.

“To search for him?” Karimi said he asked them.

“No,” he said they told him. “They were there from the very beginning.””

Other soldiers who have been stationed at the same base paint a different picture of how hard it would be to sneak off the base.  The NY Times tells us:

“A Green Beret who has spent time in Panjwai in the past year said the combat outpost would have been relatively small, protected by dirt-filled containers known as Hesco barriers, with guard towers and perhaps a blimp with a high-powered camera capable of capturing images more than a mile away. It would have been difficult, but not impossible, for Sergeant Bales to slip away at night unnoticed, as the Army says he did.”

Okay.  Not impossible.  But now it’s twice.

As if this brew needs anymore spice, Bales’ attorney claims the government is withholding evidence:

“UPDATE: The attorney representing the American soldier accused of slaughtering 17 Afghan civilians accused the U.S. government on Friday of withholding evidence that would be crucial to his defense.

Speaking to the Associated Press, lawyer John Henry Browne detailed what he said were numerous examples of the government going out of their way to “hide evidence,” including denying his team access to video allegedly taken from a surveillance blimp showing Staff Sgt. Robert Bales on the night of the killings.”

Perhaps most damning of all, one might ask, isn’t this a simple matter of interviewing the many wounded witnesses?  After all, we know beyond doubt that they saw what happened first hand.  But Bales’ attorney Brown issued the following statement at the end of March:

“We are facing an almost complete information blackout from the government, which is having a devastating effect on our ability to investigate the charges preferred against our client,” the defense team statement said.

“When we tried to interview the injured civilians being treated at Kandahar Hospital we were denied access and told to coordinate with the prosecution team. The next day the prosecution team interviewed the civilian injured. We found out shortly after the prosecution interviews of the injured civilians that the civilians were all released from the hospital and there was no contact information for them,” the statement said.”

The LA Times reports attorney Browne saying:

“People on our staff in Afghanistan went to the hospital where there supposedly were eyewitnesses to this … and we were told by the prosecutors to come back the next day, which is fine. We went back the next day, and they’d all been released from the hospital and they’d all been scattered throughout Afghanistan. That was a violation of the trust we had in the prosecutors,”…

“We’ve been misled greatly…. They were promised to be there, and they were not,” he said, adding that there isn’t much hope of finding the witnesses now. “People just disappear into the Afghan countryside.”

Finally the Global Post, a project of long-time Boston Globe journalist Charles Sennott, turns in a report which seems to attempt to discount the value of Afghan witness testimony, but in the end relates detail from a witness which corroborates the behavior of soldiers intent on committing war crimes:

“Baran’s brother was killed in the shooting spree, but he didn’t see the shooting happen. Baran said he told Karzai what his sister-in-law, who was at the scene, had told him.

When GlobalPost asked Baran to speak directly with his sister-in-law, he initially refused.

“You don’t need to talk her,” Baran said. “I did, and I can tell you the story.”

Eventually Baran relented, allowing GlobalPost to interview her by phone.

Massouma, who lives in the neighboring village of Najiban, where 12 people were killed, said she heard helicopters fly overhead as a uniformed soldier entered her home. She said he flashed a “big, white light,” and yelled, “Taliban! Taliban! Taliban!”

Massouma said the soldier shouted “walkie-talkie, walkie-talkie.” The rules of engagement in hostile areas in Afghanistan permit US soldiers to shoot Afghans holding walkie-talkies because they could be Taliban spotters.

“He had a radio antenna on his shoulder. He had a walkie-talkie himself, and he was speaking into it,” she said.”

BBC says villagers say they heard helicopters in the night,  explained by “correspondents” in the same report by the fact that helicopters are heard often in that part of the country.  However helicopters in support of an operation would be distinctly closer and louder than those passing by at altitude.

“A woman in one of the targeted villages told the BBC she first heard helicopters at 02:00 and then gunfire. Others said helicopters and gunfire could be heard from midnight….Some villagers say that helicopters were flying overhead as the killings took place. Many locals appear to believe that they were in fact supporting the operation rather than trying to stop the gunman.

But correspondents say helicopters are frequently heard overhead in parts of the country.”

Reports of Bales’ testimony and behavior seem an intriguing mix of admissions to guilt and confusion.  Reuters:

“Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales initially asserted that he had shot several Afghan men outside a U.S. combat outpost in southern Afghanistan on March 11 and did not mention that a dozen women and children were among the dead, according to a senior U.S. official briefed on the case.

“He indicated to his buddies that he had taken out some military-aged males,” the senior official said. Soldiers normally use that term to denote insurgents.

But Bales’ story soon broke down when commanders on the base learned details of the pre-dawn shooting spree in which 16 Afghan civilians were killed in their homes. At that point, the 38-year-old Army veteran was taken into custody. He refused to talk further and soon asked for a lawyer, two officials said.”

Bales’ wife has stood steadfastly by her husband, saying that whatever he had done, he loved children and could never harm them.

In 2007 after a battle in Iraq, Bales told the Fort Lewis Northwest Guardian:

“I’ve never been more proud to be a part of this unit … for the simple fact that we discriminated between the bad guys and the noncombatants,” he told the  after a battle in Iraq in 2007. “Afterward we ended up helping the people that three or four hours before were trying to kill us.”

The Christian Science Monitor reports words from Bales which are startlingly contrary to the charges:

“The charges run contrary to Bales’ own words in the 2007 interview with his local newspaper as well, when he expressed disdain for any insurgent would could put “his family in harm’s way like that,” he said. “I think that’s the real difference between being an American as opposed to being a bad guy.””

Publicintellligence.net notes the irony of the current lack of evidence against Bales when forensics against insurgents in Afghanistan are highly developed:

“A presentation from the U.S. Army’s Office of the Provost Marshal General indicates that as of August 2011 there were three Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facilities (JEFFs) throughout Afghanistan including one in Kandahar, the same province where Staff Sgt. Bales reportedly committed the massacre.  These forensics facilities are capable of DNA analysis, latent print identification, photographic forensics, as well as chemical and ballistic analysis.
——-
… it remains to be seen whether the U.S. military will present the same level of forensic evidence that it routinely collects and analyzes when attempting to prosecute suspected insurgents.”

The families of the dead have been paid $50,000 for each victim, an extraordinary sum for most Afghans who often take work, when it is available, which pays one dollar a day.  The country is the fifth poorest in the world and suffers a 60% rate of child malnutrition, according to Save the Children.  Typical victim compensation in cases of civilian deaths is on the order of $2,000.

Dateline SBC interviews with child witnesses

April 26, 2012 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Evidence in British court contradicts CIA drone claims

By Chris Woods | The Bureau of Investigative Journalism | April 24th, 2012

A major case in the British High Court has revealed fresh evidence of civilian deaths during a notorious CIA drone strike in Pakistan last year.

Sworn witness testimonies reveal in graphic detail how the village of Datta Khel burned for hours after the attack. Many of the dozens killed had to be buried in pieces.

Legal proceedings were begun in London recently against British Foreign Secretary William Hague, over possible British complicity in CIA drone strikes.

Britain’s GCHQ – its secret monitoring and surveillance agency – is reported to have provided ‘locational evidence’ to US authorities for use in drone strikes, a move which is reportedly illegal in the United Kingdom.

Sworn affidavits

The High Court case focuses in particular on a CIA drone strike in March 2011 which killed up to 53 people.

Sworn affidavits presented in court and seen by the Bureau offer extensive new details of a strike the CIA still apparently claims ‘killed no non-combatants’.

Ahmed Jan (pictured) is a tribal elder in North Waziristan. On March 17 2011 he was attending a gathering with other village elders, to discuss a mining dispute.

‘We were in the middle of our discussion when the missile hit and I was thrown about 24 feet from where I was sitting. I was knocked unconscious and when I awoke I saw many individuals who were dead or injured,’ he says in his affidavit.

Most of those who died in Datta Khel village that day were civilians. The Bureau has so far identified by name 24 of those killed, whilst Associated Press recently reported that it has the names of 42 civilians who died that day.

Pakistan’s president, prime minister and army chief all condemned the Datta Khel attack. A recent Bureau investigation with the Sunday Times quoted Brigadier Abdullah Dogar, who commanded Pakistani military forces in the area at the time.

We in the Pakistan military knew about the meeting, we’d got the request ten days earlier. It was held in broad daylight, people were sitting out in Nomada bus depot when the missile strikes came. Maybe there were one or two Taliban at that Jirga – they have their people attending – but does that justify a drone strike which kills 42 mostly innocent people?

Yet the US intelligence community has consistently denied that any civilians died.

Last year an anonymous US official told the New York Times: ‘The fact is that a large group of heavily armed men, some of whom were clearly connected to al Qaeda and all of whom acted in a manner consistent with AQ [Al Qaeda] -linked militants, were killed.’

The sworn affidavits seen by the Bureau offer a very different perspective. Imran Khan’s father Ismail was another of the elders who died that day. Imran says of his father: ‘He always did the right thing for the community and the tribe. He opposed terrorism and militancy and was not himself in any way connected to these things.’

Khalil Khan’s late father Hajji Babat was a local policeman who was ‘not an enemy of the United States of America or any other country.’ His son describes in his affidavit how he rushed back to his village to find his father dead, the bus station and surrounding buildings still burning six hours after the drone strike.

And Fateh Khan, who once worked for British Telecom, lost his 25-year old nephew Din Mohammed in the CIA attack. He reports that his nephew’s body had to be buried in pieces, and that ‘he left behind four children, all of whom now live in my house. His eldest child is currently only five years old.’

‘Absolute lie’

The most senior tribal elder to die that day was Daud Khan. Initially he was claimed to have been a senior Taliban figure. His son Noor told the Bureau that this was ‘an absolute lie’.

‘My father was not a militant but an elder who was working day and night for his people. There have been many children who have been killed in drone strikes. I ask the US if they think those children were militants and combatants and dangerous enough to be killed in such a manner?’

The CIA declined to comment when asked whether it still believed it had killed no ‘non-combatants’ in Pakistan since May 2010, or that no civilians died in Datta Khel last year.

In London, legal campaigners are seeking a judicial review in the High Court – a process by which senior judges can question and even overturn any government policy on aiding US drone strikes.

The case is being brought by legal charity Reprieve, and by the Islamabad-based lawyer Shahzad Akbar and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, which focuses on civilian victims of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan.

The British government is understood to have firmly challenged the grounds of the case on a number of fronts.

Follow @chrisjwoods on Twitter

April 26, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jewish settlers attack village, block Nablus road

Ma’an – 26/04/2012
Settler attacks are common and rarely prosecuted

NABLUS – Settlers in the northern West Bank set up a roadblock and attacked a Nablus village on Thursday, a PA official said.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settler activity in the northern West Bank, said that settlers blocked a main road that links the West Bank town of Huwwara to Tulkarem and Qalqiliya.

Settlers prevented Palestinian vehicles from passing through, causing a large traffic jam. Around 12 settlers also attacked the village of Urif in Nablus, clashing with local villagers.

Witnesses said the Israeli army was present during the incident but fired tear gas at the villagers.

In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent on the previous year.

The Nablus district experienced the majority of settler violence in 2011.


Source: When Settlers Attack, The Palestine Center, 2012

April 26, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Comments Off on Jewish settlers attack village, block Nablus road

Israel Censors Bob Simon’s Report on Palestinian Christians

Al-Manar | April 26, 2012

During Sunday night’s episode of “60 Minutes,” reporter Bob Simon’s story on Arab Christians included a heated confrontation between himself and the Zionist ambassador to the United States Michael Oren.

The “60 Minutes” story tackled the displacement of Palestinian Christians by the Zionist Occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Oren also called Simon’s report “outrageous” and “incomprehensible,” and reportedly called Jeff Fager, the chairman of CBS News, before the broadcast and said he had information the “60 Minutes” story was “a hatchet job.” He was concerned that the piece was critical of the Zionist entity and could harm its reputation among American Christians.

In its report, Simon told Americans that there are Palestinian Christians, and the Right wing Zionists have attempted to displace, expropriate and erase the Palestinian nation, and to convince them that Palestinians don’t exist or if they do are enemies of the U.S.

According to the report, when the foe of the US was the Soviet Union, they made the Palestinians Communists. When the foe became al-Qaeda, they made the Palestinians violent fundamentalists. But if some percentage of Palestinians is Christians, then that fact disrupts the propaganda. In fact, millions of Palestinians are descended from the 700,000 or so Palestinians ethnically cleansed by the Israelis from what is now Israel in 1948, of whom about 10 percent were Christian.

The report also mentioned that some Palestinians are Lutherans, Catholics and Episcopalians, establishing a link of commonality between them and Americans, which raised the ire of the entity of occupation because it wants Americans identifying only with the so-called ‘Israelis’, not with Palestinians.

It also told Americans that ‘Israel’ is occupying and colonizing Palestinian land, and it let it slip that Palestinians in the West Bank need a permit to travel to Arab East Jerusalem and are subjected within the West Bank to humiliating check points that turn a 7 mile journey into an all-day ordeal.

Simon’s story allowed Palestinians to speak for themselves as well, and to refute Oren’s anti-Palestinian talking points, where it mentioned a prominent Palestinian businessman and Coca Cola distributor saying that he knew of no Palestinian Christians who were leaving the West Bank and Jerusalem because of Muslims but that rather they were leaving because of the “Israeli Oppression.”

The report allowed the Palestinians to point out that the West Bank now looks like Swiss cheese, with Zionist colonies grabbing the good land and water, and the stateless Palestinians pushed into the holes; and that the way the Israelis built the Separation Wall isolated Bethlehem, Jesus’s birthplace and a city that still is 18% Christian, had made it “an open-air prison.”

It also described the Palestinian Kairos Document, calling for nonviolence, as a peaceful struggle by Palestinians against the Zionist Occupation and land grabs, particularly when it quoted a Zionist scholar putting “Political Judaism” on par with “Political Islam.”

According to sources, news of Simon’s “60 Minutes” report reached the highest governmental levels of the Zionist entity, where a main daily Haaretz reported Tuesday that PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his political adviser Ron Dermer were “fully informed on the affair almost since its start.”

A source told Haaretz that Israel’s unsuccessful attempts to kill the “60 Minutes” report backfired as Oren’s call to Fager became a central part of the story. “We awakened the dead,” the source said.

However, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office disagreed and insisted that their efforts delayed the broadcast and made the final version “softer.”

April 26, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments